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How to Resolve Conflict with a Co-Worker

How to Resolve Conflict with a Co-Worker

Author: Laurie Knafo/Tuesday, June 30, 2020/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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It is often recommended that we try to separate our personal lives from our professional lives. As hard as we try to keep the relationships in both unattached, that can be extremely challenging considering just how many hours we actually spend with co-workers. Have you every stopped to think about that number? At least 40 – on a good week – surpassing the amount of time we have with family and friends. Because of this, bonds are easily created with our colleagues that are unlike any other. On the flip side, spending so much time (either in-person or virtually these days) can often result in arguments that aren’t resolved by the time 5 o’clock rolls around. Here are a few ways to confront the issue before it takes a toll on your performance:

Squash the Gossip
When you are clashing with a co-worker, venting to the rest of your team is most likely your first approach – You need to get it off your chest and tell your side of the story before they hear it from the other person. While this may seem like a great idea at the time, it is definitely not the most professional way to handle the situation. Not only is it unfair to the person you are feuding with, but it could also give you a reputation as the office gossip. Instead of putting others in the middle, try discussing the issue with a friend or family member outside of your work environment – This will give you someone to talk to that may also provide an unbiased opinion.

Speak Face-to-Face or on the Phone
Waiting too long to discuss the issue will only make for more awkward and hostile interactions. If the idea of confronting someone in person makes your cringe, then email will undoubtedly be your method of choice for resolving the issue at hand. While this is obviously the easier, less confrontational approach, it is also the most inefficient. We all have experience with words getting lost in translation and tone of voice being misunderstood through technology, and this can be heightened when both parties involved are feeling defensive. In order to avoid creating new conflicts, stepping out of your comfort zone and into the ring of fire is the best way to clear up the disagreement – And, sometimes, this gesture alone will soften the conversation. If you have the opportunity, speak to them in person and if that isn’t an option give them a call.

Find Middle Ground
No matter the argument, everyone has their side of the story and might feel very strongly about being “right”. Entering this discussion with the sole purpose of proving yourself will only get you so far and will likely cause more anger. Each person involved should take the opportunity to introduce their point of view, but then take the time to find middle ground. Remind each other that you at least have one thing in common – passion for the job – and do not want to burn bridges.

Lastly, remind yourself to be open-minded and learn something from this situation. Be thoughtful and recognize where you contributed to the argument as this will hopefully assist in avoiding similar future conflicts. While disagreements in the work place are inevitable, how you handle them is key. Restoring the broken communication will only make your relationship with the team stronger!

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Laurie Knafo
Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

Other posts by Laurie Knafo
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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